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    Fibroblasts can control antibody production

    A study directed by Emmanuel Donnadieu

    Together with researchers from the University of Lausanne, scientists from the Institut Cochin

    have discovered a new subtype of lymph node fibroblasts that promote the survival and function of antibody-secreting plasma cells. Their findings appear in the 2 July 2018 edition of PNAS.

    Plasma cells represent a critical arm of immune defense as they secrete huge amounts of antibodies that prevent the spread of pathogens, including viruses and bacteria. While we know a lot on the generation of this antibody response, the process of plasma cell survival taking place in lymph organs is much less characterized.

    Researchers have identified a new cell type which represents an important part of this plasma cell survival niche, both in mice and men. These cells are fibroblastic stromal cells that localize specifically in the lymph node medulla, together with several innate immune cells including macrophages. These fibroblasts form a 3-dimensional network that constitutes niche-like structures for plasma cells, but also produce several cytokines promoting plasma cell survival.

    The discovery of these fibroblasts may help to design intervention strategies to target these cells in the setting of autoimmune disease caused by plasma cells secreting autoreactive antibodies.



    Huang HY, Rivas-Caicedo A, Renevey F, Cannelle H, Peranzoni E, Scarpellino L, Hardie DL, Pommier A, Schaeuble K, Favre S, Vogt TK, Arenzana-Seisdedos F, Schneider P, Buckley CD, Donnadieu E*, Luther SA*. Identification of a new subset of lymph node stromal cells involved in regulating plasma cell homeostasis. PNAS, 2 Juillet 2018. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1712628115





    Interaction between plasma cells and fibroblasts in a murine lymph node

    Fibroblasts (in green) form contacts with plasma cells (in red) in the medulla of lymph nodes from an immunized mouse. Macrophages (in blue) are also present in this region and, together with fibroblasts, form the niche for the plasma cells.